Hydrogen and pressure sensors ? What should be observed?

When pressure sensors touch hydrogen, this often results in difficulties. Unfortunately, I frequently notice in my own job our customers are not aware of this prior to use. This is why they often usually do not even reveal that their medium contains hydrogen. We only find out when we receive a complaint. But why do we get yourself a complaint? Why is especially hydrogen so critical to pressure sensors?
A simple rule is that a lot of metals become brittle when exposed to hydrogen. Hydrogen atoms that diffuse in to the metal grid change the effectiveness of the material. In the worst case, this results in cracks in the material. Or even to put it simply, the pressure sensor starts leaking or is completely destroyed. Regarding pressure sensors, specifically thin membranes necessary for measuring pressure play a decisive role. Atomic hydrogen can not only penetrate the metal, but also go through it by diffusion.
Off-limits has several effects: When piezoresistive measuring principles are employed, it becomes critical if hydrogen reacts with the internal transmission medium or accumulates there. This initially only falsifies the measurement results, but can down the road also result in complete destruction of the sensor in individual cases. The addition of hydrogen also changes the instrumentation characteristics of the resistance structures of the measurement bridge of thin-film sensors. Despite being reversible, this process results in a detuning of the bridge at least temporarily, resulting in a falsification of the measurement signal.
However, the effects described above occur in various materials differently. This means that the effects of hydrogen could be lowered substantially by selecting suitable materials.
Note
Further information on our pressure sensors and about hydrogen can be found on the WIKA website. If you are using hydrogen as the medium, your contact will gladly recommend an optimum solution for the application.

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